LEWISBURG – “A privilege to play a Division I sport, but remembering our everyday privilege of freedom, thanks to those who fight for our country every day.” It’s the ongoing team motto of the Bucknell men’s golf team, spearheaded by head coach Michael Binney, and that motto is now getting national recognition.
Binney, who is a US Marine and served as an attack helicopter pilot, talked about his team’s tradition on a recent appearance on FOX News. After taking over the golf program in the 2014-15 seasons, Binney wanted to establish a relationship between his players and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I try to connect the player with the family, either via a letter, address, or an email, and ask if they would contact the family, just to tell them who they were, what we were doing as a team, and what it meant to carry their son, brother, father’s name on their bag. I think that really impacted them a lot,” he said.
When each player receives a fallen hero to research and get to know through families, a black strap is given to each player with the hero’s name, rank, the date and where the hero died, and more. Entering his sixth year, Binney is now taking a new approach to this tradition, “It’s the first time that I’ve ‘recycled’ the names of some of the heroes. And then I’ll actually ask my freshman to contact my graduates and talk to them about what it was like for them to carry the same name on their bag. When they get here, they just have to give their little stand-up, introduce their fallen here to the team, and then I give them their strap that they can carry for their four years here at Bucknell.”
Binney says the idea has also begun catching the eye of other schools, “I had one kid from Princeton who came to me and said, ‘Coach, I’m going to take this idea back to my team.’ So he took it back to his team and they’re doing it. The second and third-order affects to this is really kinda cool.”
This year, the Bison will welcome four incoming freshman to join in the honorable tradition. We have a link to Binney’s FOX News interview posted here.